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Archive for February, 2012

Tiger Rejects the “Bowstache”

February 29th, 2012 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

As expected in today’s press conference at the Honda Classic, Tiger Woods deflected any questions about the excerpts from the forthcoming Hank Haney book The Big Miss.  Previously has said he isn’t happy with Haney and has tried to avoid answering any questions about the book.

Truth be told, Tiger picks and chooses his answers to every question and rarely gives any insightful responses to the press.  Many reporters are left waiting for an answer and Woods is never open with anyone in these settings.

Today Alex Miceli, the “Bowstache” as they call him on The Golf Channel, was the lucky reporter that had the nerve to force the issue on Tiger’s non-answers about the book.  Check out this video as Alex tries his best to get an answer out of Woods.

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Hank Haney Says Tiger Not Fearless

February 29th, 2012 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

It is no secret that Tiger Woods is the biggest name in golf.  In the past fifteen years he is by far the most popular (and unpopular) golfer on the planet.  His presence has transformed the PGA Tour and made millionaires out of hundreds of men that play professional golf.  Anyone near Tiger Woods until his scandal was swept along in the tsunami that was Tiger Woods.  One of those fortunate few was Hank Haney.

Haney was a well established coach and a winner of the PGA Teacher of the Year in 1993 but he became a household name when he paired with the most popular player in the world.  Coaching the best golfer in the world and one of the most recognizable athletes gave Haney a status he never had before.  Now with the release of Haney’s book on Tiger, The Big Miss, the Haney/Woods relationship is in the news again.

You can see the excerpts in Golf Digest here and here is the link to the very defensive response from Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg.  According to Haney, Tiger actually thought of leaving golf to try and join the Navy Seals.

“Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL. I didn’t know how he’d go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan….I thought, Wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life.”

Now let’s just put aside the fact that you just don’t go and sign up for the Navy Seals.  It’s not like a neighborhood gym where you sign up and join or the Boy Scouts or the PTA.  This is the most selective, most demanding sector of the military in the world.  So maybe with Tiger’s affection for the military (his dad was a Green Beret) he daydreamed of what it would be like to be a Navy Seal.  We all have done that at one time or another but I find it difficult to imagine that he actually considered joining the military.  Score that one as a cheap shot from Haney.

Of the excerpts released, I thought the most intriguing is the one concerning Tiger’s “fearlessness.”  “One of the adjectives most often used to describe Tiger Woods was fearless. But the more I observed him close up, the more it became clear he wasn’t,” Haney writes. “Sometimes, to make it less of a big deal, he’d remind me that he had never considered himself a particularly good driver, at least in comparison with the rest of his game. ‘That’s why my name is Woods,’ he’d joke. ‘Maybe it would have been different if I’d been named Fairway.’”

Until Woods came back from his scandal and his injuries, no one in golf portrayed as much confidence and fearlessness as Woods.  He was borderline arrogant with his abilities on the course, making shots few players would ever attempt.  Hearing that he was apprehensive with his driver is surprising.  When he was younger he was one of the longest, never the straightest, but his big stick was an intimidating weapon in his arsenal.  Knowing that he feared the big dog, as all of us hackers do, is a revelation.

Haney’s book will sell, that’s for sure and I can’t think that any discussion of it by Tiger or his agent will do anything but sell more copies of it. Tiger isn’t happy with Haney and his book but the more he (and Steinberg) protests the more books get sold.  Right now, Tiger has more pressing problems, like getting his entire game together as he faces a new test at The Honda Classic this week.

 

 

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Memorable Moments: Honda Classic

February 29th, 2012 No comments

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PGA Tour Changes Will Kill Q-School

February 28th, 2012 1 comment

by Jeff Skinner

The approval of the changes to the PGA Tour that the Tour has been touting to the players looks like a mere formality.  Tim Finchem and his crew have worked hard trying to make life after the major championships more relevant for years.

It started with rolling the Tour Championship into the FedEx Cup Playoffs and it appears to have worked.  Previously many of the big names (meaning Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson) were seldom seen on tour after the PGA Championship in August.  Now with the playoffs it is rare not to see all the big names tee it up in the FedEx Cup.

The latest proposed change is even more radical if you ask me as it affects The PGA Tour, The Nationwide Tour, The Fall Series and most dramatically Q-School.  First, the tour is stealing a page from the European Tour will start its season with the Fall Series events counting as tournaments in the next season.  For instance, this year there are four Fall Series events played during October and November, under the new plan they would actually be on the following year’s calendar and all money and points earned will count towards the FedEx Cup Playoffs.  Instead of the PGA Tour season starting in Hawaii in January, it would now start at the Justin Timberlake in October.

It was announced last week that FedEx had signed up for a few more seasons as the main sponsor on the PGA Tour through 2017. But a FedEx Cup executive let it slip that they wanted a year round presence, meaning that if they are spending all this cash they wanted every PGA Tour tournament to wear the FedEx Cup banner. It is understandable that they want to maximize every dollar they spend but who’s calling the shots on the tour?

Also announced in the changes was the way veterans retain their cards.  The top 75 players on the PGA Tour that failed to keep their tour cards would be paired with the top 75 money winners on the Nationwide Tour in a three tournament “Fall Series” with the top 50 earning PGA Tour Cards.  The players that fail to earn their cards there can then go to Q-School.  But Q-School isn’t what it used to be under the new plan.

Before the changes the top 25 at Q-School got the biggest brass ring in golf: a PGA Tour Card.  Under the new plan, players would not advance to the PGA Tour, only the Nationwide Tour instead.  Gone is the prize of playing on the PGA Tour.

Surviving Q-school had been the ultimate dream or most painful torture, depending on who you talk to but for those that endured the most pressure filled week in golf the reward was well worth it.  Now that prize is no longer there, only another chance at proving yourself all over again.

I can understand Finchem’s need to placate the sponsors and it is his job to do what he thinks is the best for the PGA Tour and its members.  But these changes relegate Q-School to nothing more than a pass to the minor leagues when it had been the last chance for a golfer to go from nowhere to the big show.

Q-School graduates had an amazing finish this past week.  At the Match Play Championship Sang-Moon Bae made it to the final eight golfers.  And at the Mayakoba Golf Classic Q-School grad and PGA Tour rookie, John Huh survived an eight hole playoff to claim his first win.  Under the new changes those two probably wouldn’t be able to play on the PGA Tour.

Maybe the tour could consider just reducing the number of tour cards earned at Q-School down from 25 to 10 or 15.  That way at least there would be a few Holy Grails sitting there for those talented, dedicated few that survive one of the toughest tests in golf.

 

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Mahan Is Match Play Master

February 27th, 2012 No comments

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Saturday Swing Tip: Play Into the Wind Like Phil Mickelson

February 25th, 2012 No comments

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Miguel Angel Jimenez: Still Alive at Match Play and Still The Coolest Guy in Golf

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

My bracket at The Match Play Championship may be blown to bits but my favorite golfer is still alive.  Miguel Angel Jimenez sent Keegan Bradley home and proved that experience can get you a long way.  Miguel has defeated two very hot golfers that are half his age in Bradley and Sergio Garcia.  He’ll get to try it again on Friday as he faces his toughest test yet when he goes against another youngster in Rory McIlroy.  At 48 he’s the oldest golfer in the field and he has proven time and time again he’s the Coolest Guy in Golf and cool never goes out of style.

 

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Luke Donald’s Out, Tiger Advances at Match Play Championship

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

It could be billed as the “Massacre at Dove Mountain” yesterday at The Accenture Match Play Championship.  Fifteen lower seeds, the most ever in the events history, took out their opponents on day one.  Losers included the top seed, world number one, Luke Donald.  Also, two second seeds Webb Simpson and Adam Scott were sent home and last week’s champion Bill Haas lost a three up lead with five holes to play.  Match Play is a fickle beast.

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Marr Shines with Champions Tour Learning Center

February 22nd, 2012 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Any self respecting golfer always has his television tuned to The Golf Channel when there isn’t a live broadcast on one of the other networks.   And while it is difficult to fill each hour of the day for the most part they do a wonderful job of keeping us golf fanatics interested and entertained.  Morning Drive, Golf Central, Feherty, The Golf Fix and the Big Break all get more than their share of promos all day long.

One of the most interesting shows that gets overlooked by too many fans is The Champions Tour Learning Center.  Airing each Tuesday evening at 6:30pm, Learning Center gives us a little bit of news, inside info on the Champions Tour and plenty of instruction.

Hosted by the very likable David Marr III, Champions Tour Learning Center is just that, a learning center.  One of their especially interesting features is that it is filmed right on site of the current Champions Tour event.  Each week they get that week’s winner to recreate a particular shot that was critical to their win and give you a tip on how to play it.  They mix in features and tips from all the Champion Players with Marr orchestrating each segment.

It is easy to see that Marr loves what he is doing and he has the respect of the players making their living on what is called “golf’s greatest mulligan.”

There’s no yelling or screaming or video tricks: just plain talk about golf by some of the most experienced players in the game.  It is probably the most laid back half hour of programming on The Golf Channel and Marr’s smooth, easygoing style makes it one of the most informative, enjoyable and watchable programs on the schedule.

 

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Memorable Moments: Accenture Match Play Championship

February 21st, 2012 No comments

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